News and Events for Monday, May 14, 2012

Hawai‘i gets ‘B’ on policies for new parents

A state-by-state analysis released for Mother’s Day shows the nation can do much more to support and protect working mothers and fathers when a new child arrives.

The report, Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws that Help New Parents, says Hawai‘i is above the curve but hasn’t done all it could to help new parents.

In Hawai‘i, women make up 48 percent of the workforce, and 72 percent of Hawai‘i children live in families in which all parents work.

Recent data shows that nearly 20,000 Hawai‘i women gave birth between 2009-10. Without access to some wages or job security, these workers and families often have no choice but to sacrifice much-needed income or their jobs when a new child arrives — which places them at risk for economic security and their health.

Hawai‘i earned a grade of “B” for having put in place some, but not enough, supportive policies that expand upon minimal federal protections.

The report is a comprehensive analysis of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and workplace rights for new parents in the United States. It was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families.

California and Connecticut are far ahead, receiving grades of “A-.”

Eighteen states received grades of “F.” Most states fall somewhere in between; they are doing something to expand upon minimal federal protections for new parents, but not enough.

The full report includes grades for all 50 states and the District of Columbia  and can be found at www.nationalpartnership.org/expectingbetter.

Marine Corps base installs solar project

MILILANI, Hawai‘i — With a May 9 dedication ceremony that included a traditional Hawaiian blessing. SolarCity and Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i completed installation of nearly 2,000 solar panels that will provide renewable power to a new 150-room bachelor enlisted quarters built by Nan, Inc.

This is the second Hawai‘i military base to install a SolarCity photovoltaic system.

The company partnered with Lend Lease to initiate a project to provide solar electricity to Hickam Communities at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

As of 2010, Hawai‘i had the highest electricity rates in the nation, and 75 percent of the electricity generated in the state came from petroleum products. The Department of Defense has set a goal to meet 25 percent of its energy requirements with renewable energy by 2025.

MCBH’s new 470-kilowatt solar system was designed to offset the annual energy usage of the barracks, while reducing reliance on fossil fuels and protecting Hawaiian air and water.

“The bachelor enlisted quarters was designed and constructed using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas including sustainable site development, water savings and energy efficiency,” said Steven Butala, facilities department mechanical engineer, Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i.

“One of the most effective clean energy initiatives at the new BEQ site is the installation of photovoltaic panels on top of carports, which will provide more than half a million kilowatt-hours of electrical power each year. The solar panels, combined with MCBH’s other sustainable energy initiatives, are essential to help the base meet its goal to be off the grid by 2015.”

SolarCity engineered and installed the solar system, which will be interconnected by Hawaiian Electric Company.

It will also be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the system.

SolarCity is a clean energy services provider for homeowners, business and government organizations. Additional information about the company is available on the Web at www.solarcity.com.

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